Lord Stevens: Former Met chief under investigation over Stephen Lawrence 'cover-up'

Scotland Yard has received a complaint about the amount of information he gave to the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry into the original investigation of the black teenager's killing

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The Independent Online

Lord Stevens, once Britain’s most senior police officer, is being investigated over allegations of a cover-up by the Metropolitan Police following its botched investigation of the murder of Stephen Lawrence by a racist gang.

In a statement, Scotland Yard said a complaint had been made about Lord Stevens and the amount of information given to the 1998 Macpherson Inquiry into the original investigation of the black teenager’s killing. Its report detailed evidence of “institutional racism” within the Met at the time.

Lord Stevens was the Met’s Deputy Commissioner in 1998 but went on to serve as Commissioner from 2000 to 2005.

Mr Lawrence, 18, a would-be architect, was stabbed to death by a group of up to six white youths in an unprovoked racist attack as he waited at a bus stop in Eltham, south-east London, with a friend in April 1993.

It took more than 18 years to bring two of Mr Lawrence’s killers – Gary Dobson and David Norris – to justice. They were jailed for life in January 2012 for their role in the attack.

A spokeswoman for the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) said Lord Stevens’ actions were being looked into. “We can confirm we are independently investigating Lord John Stevens following a referral from the Metropolitan Police,” she said.

Neville Lawrence, Stephen’s father, told Channel 4 News that he had asked for an investigation into allegations that officers, including Lord Stevens, had not given “full, frank and truthful” information to the inquiry.

“This is not the first time that we’ve asked them to look into it and they’ve come back with a negative result,” he said.

“I’m hoping that this time they’re going to come back with a result that can help us to get further into the truth of what was happening during the investigation into Stephen’s death.”

In 2012, The Independent published claims by a police “supergrass”, Detective Sergeant Neil Putnam, about a cabal of allegedly corrupt police officers. One of those named was Detective Sergeant John Davidson, a key figure on the original team which investigated Mr Lawrence’s murder. Allegations about Mr Davidson were kept from the inquiry, along with claims that an officer had been placed inside the Lawrence family camp to spy on them.

Mark Ellison, QC, who cited The Independent’s investigation in his Stephen Lawrence Independent Review last year, found there were “reasonable grounds for suspecting that [Davidson] acted corruptly” during the initial murder investigation based on Mr Putnam’s evidence.

A Met spokeswoman confirmed it had received a public complaint about Lord Stevens, which it passed on to the IPCC in November last year.

“The complaint has been made in relation to Lord Stevens’ role as the then Deputy Commissioner and disclosure to the Macpherson Inquiry,” she said. “This issue was raised in the Stephen Lawrence Independent Review by Mark Ellison, QC, published on 6 March last year, where he concluded there were defects in the level of information that the [Met] revealed to the inquiry.”

Speaking to Channel 4, Lord Stevens said Mr Ellison had written a letter to him saying: “No one is suggesting that you did anything that was culpable in any way.”

And the former Met boss added: “Step very carefully, I’m not putting up with any more crap about this.”